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Flirtatious State (cont.)

Posted: Sunday September 18, 2005 7:46PM; Updated: Monday September 19, 2005 4:31PM
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The inaugural Al Groh Risky Business Award winner

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Virginia coach Al Groh

Facing a 4th-and-1 at the Syracuse 10 with 1:12 left and the score tied, Groh, despite the luxury of a former All-America kicker on his roster, chose to go for the first down. The play worked, and Virginia ended up kicking the game-winning field goal with no time remaining, prompting the normally gruff Cavs coach to tell sideline reporter Jimmy Dykes afterward, "Are you familiar with the movie Risky Business?" For that, Groh gets his namesake on an award, which will be used throughout the rest of the season to honor similarly dare-devilish coaches.

The inaugural Dairy Queen Brain Freeze of the Week Award

Tennessee's special teams

On a 4th-and-9 play in the third quarter of a tight 10-7 game against Florida, Tennessee punter Britton Colquitt thought he saw a hole in Florida's punt coverage that his coaches had pointed out during the week and decided to throw a pass to teammate Inky Johnson. Unfortunately, neither Johnson nor the rest of the players on the field realized he was throwing it and continued to sprint downfield. "Inky was probably as surprised as anybody," said Vols coach Phillip Fulmer, who claimed responsibility for not making it clear to Colquitt -- although this would seem obvious -- that the audible isn't an option when you're standing on your own 32-yard line.

Spreading the field

• It took just eight plays and 1:32 of the first quarter for USC to score its first 28 points against Arkansas. Reggie Bush ran for 125 yards -- on eight carries. Matt Leinart threw for 381 yards -- in two-and-a-half quarters. The Trojans aren't just the best offense the country, they're the best-rested.

• In a similar vein, Arizona State put up 773 yards in a 52-21 win over Northwestern. In four starts dating to last year's Sun Bowl, when he replaced injured star Andrew Walter, Arizona State QB Sam Keller has thrown for 1,436 yards (359 per game), 15 touchdowns and three interceptions. If only Oklahoma could replace record-setting quarterbacks so seamlessly.

• Florida's defensive line is so deep that watching the Tennessee game, you never would have known the Gators' top pass-rusher, Ray McDonald, went out with a knee injury in the second quarter (he may in fact be lost for the season). Joe Cohen and Derrick Harvey stepped in, and in fact the line seemed to get better as the game went along. Florida will be more severely tested at receiver, however, in the wake of Andre Caldwell's broken leg. Urban Meyer's offense requires four receivers on most sets, and the Gators are down to three with any significant experience (Chad Jackson, Dallas Baker and Jemalle Cornelius).

• Now that's the Louisville we expected. I'm not sure what happened against Kentucky, but the Fighting Petrinos were back to their old explosive ways against Oregon State, winning 63-27. In the process, they unveiled their secret weapon of the spring, beastly 6-foot-6, 220-pound receiver Mario Urrutia. The redshirt freshman caught seven passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns.

• Meanwhile, can anyone block Elvis Dumervil? The Louisville defensive end notched another three sacks against Oregon State to raise his two-game total to an NCAA-record nine. At his current pace, Dumervil would shatter Terrell Suggs' NCAA single-season record of 24 by week six.

• Alabama receiver Tyrone Prothro is fast becoming one of the nation's most dangerous playmakers. A week after making an out-of-this-world touchdown catch by reaching his hands around a Southern Miss defender's helmet, the junior lined up in the backfield a few times against South Carolina and broke off runs of 41 and 18 yards.

Drew Weatherford proved me wrong. After again struggling early, the raw freshman was flawless on Florida State's fourth-quarter go-ahead touchdown drive, going 8-of-9 for 57 yards. The 'Noles' offense still has a ways to go (they gained just 256 yards against the Eagles), but with Nicholson on their side, it might not matter.

• If you're a Miami fan, you've got to love the way Tyrone Moss is running -- this is not the same guy we saw the past two years -- and you've got to be incredulous with the way the 'Canes' once-mighty O-line is pass blocking (allowing another five sacks against Clemson). Where have you gone, Joaquin Gonzalez and Bryant McKinnie?

• It's time to rev up the Reggie McNeal-for-Heisman campaign. After a less-than-auspicious debut opening performance against Clemson, the Texas A&M senior lit up SMU -- the same team that held TCU to 10 points a week earlier -- for 349 passing yards, 100 rushing yards and six touchdowns in a 66-8 victory.

• What are the Vegas odds on Kentucky's Rich Brooks getting the first ax of the season? The hopelessly out-of-place former Rams coach likely sealed his fate with Saturday's 38-14 loss to Indiana. The Hoosiers, who needed a last-minute rally a week earlier to survive Nicholls State, ran for 305 yards on the Wildcats. And it's got to be doubly frustrating to Kentucky fans to see torrid Vanderbilt lapping them.

• By the way, Baylor, Indiana and Vanderbilt are all 3-0. Just thought you should know.

Stewart Mandel covers college sports for SI.com.